Signs of Spring...
As I’m sure everyone is well aware, it’s been a long winter - everywhere. Longer than usual in my opinion. Here in Ontario, Canada “winter” started a bit later than is typical. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t tropical beach weather by any means for the months of November or December, but the real “winter” with the snow, blowing snow, ice pellets, more blowing snow and polar vortexes didn’t arrive until sometime in January. But since January, it’s been constant cold, little sun, snow and wind. It’s been a never-ending story of misery - for me at least.
Having said that, I see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”. Slowly but surely, we’ve had a few warmer days, a little more sunshine and only trace amounts of snow. I’m still wearing my winter coat, but I have now given up my winter boots for shoes. Seems like a minor detail, but for me, it’s a BIG deal.
There have been other signs of Spring in the air (most of them literally are in the air). Here are some signs that tell me, brighter, warmer days are on the Canadian horizon…
Robins and Red-Winged Black Birds
Yes, the birds are back in town! Typically robins return from warmer climates once the ground clears enough that they can begin finding food sources – worms, bugs, etc. The red-winged black birds return once the marshes have begun to thaw. I’m not a “bird” person, but I can tell which bird is in our yard, just from the sounds of their calls. It’s a nice feeling.
We are lucky enough to live near a migratory route for tundra swans. They stop in our area to rest and feed on the way to their summer feeding/breeding grounds in the Arctic/tundra regions. Once there are enough open fields for the birds to feed upon remnants from the previous year’s corn harvest and enough open water for them to land, the come through by the 100’s. They been late in arriving this year because of the lack of open water, but they are now here nonetheless. It’s a nice sight on my morning commute.
These have to been the least attractive bird in our area, but I will admit, I’m happy to see they have returned – ugly as they are. Turkey buzzards are scavengers and I believe they only eat dead animals. You can tell when something is dead or dying as you can see them circling high overhead – waiting for the moment to close in for their feast. I understand they overwinter in Central America, so a sure sign of Spring is when the snow cover dissipates enough for them to return to find what didn’t make it through the winter.
What is this and what does it have to do with Spring? Well, The Arbor is an institution that I’ve grown up with. It’s a family owned food booth that’s been in business for over 100 years. It is located in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada and is open during the warmer months - typically from late March until mid October. The Arbor serves the BEST foot-long hot dog and homemade fries on the planet. Yes, I will stand by that claim. They have the most toppings you can possibly imagine (pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and mustard, coleslaw, onions, beets, relishes, lettuce, etc.) and their zucchini relish is to die for. They are scheduled to open this weekend, but unfortunately my Arbor dog will have to wait, as I am bound for the beach – not Lake Erie either.
Of course, no arrival of Spring is complete, without my semi-annual escape to warmer climates. I've paid my winter dues and now... a beach in Puerto Rico is calling my name...
What means Spring to you? I’d love to hear about it…